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  • FIRST POST
    • kingfisherblue
    • By kingfisherblue 4th Oct 16, 11:51 AM
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    kingfisherblue
    Codicil or full will?
    • #1
    • 4th Oct 16, 11:51 AM
    Codicil or full will? 4th Oct 16 at 11:51 AM
    My mum wrote a new Will about five years ago and made my sister and I executors. We are the main beneficiaries and there are a few small bequests to other people. One bequest was to a former employee of my mum's, whom she considered a friend.

    This 'friend' has now not been in touch with my mum (including ignoring her letters and answer machine messages) for about three or four years. She didn't tell Mum when she got engaged - we found out when we bumped into her and a chap, and my mum asked her to introduce him. We found out that she had a child when the 'friend' rang my mum a few weeks after the birth. She didn't even give my mum her new address.

    Mum has now decided to remove this woman from her Will. The bequest is £1000. Mum has made an appointment at the solicitor's and I will accompany her, at her request. She doesn't want my sister there, possibly because it would mean her taking time off work. In addition, she said that I am the one who 'looks after her', by which she means I take her shopping, sort out energy suppliers, take her to hospital and doctor appointments, etc. She is of sound mind and despite a few minor health problems, she is quite fit for her age and needs no help with personal care or housework (apart from changing lightbulbs!).

    So, when changing a Will to remove a beneficiary, is a codicil acceptable or does a new Will need to be made? I think a codicil would be fine, but I don't know for certain. The entire estate, including her house, is way below the tax level. It will probably be in the region of £150k.

    I don't know if the estate amount or the bequest amount make a difference.
Page 1
    • Yorkshireman99
    • By Yorkshireman99 4th Oct 16, 12:27 PM
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    • #2
    • 4th Oct 16, 12:27 PM
    • #2
    • 4th Oct 16, 12:27 PM
    Al though a codicil is legally quite OK the practice now is to do a new will as it can easily be done as the old one will be on a word processing file. Remember a codicil can always go missing so this is the best way. The charge is likely to be similar.
    • kingfisherblue
    • By kingfisherblue 5th Oct 16, 4:28 PM
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    kingfisherblue
    • #3
    • 5th Oct 16, 4:28 PM
    • #3
    • 5th Oct 16, 4:28 PM
    Thank you Yorkshireman. Mum has been told the price of a new Will, but not how much a codicil would cost. I'll let my mum know what you have said.
    • tanith
    • By tanith 5th Oct 16, 4:33 PM
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    tanith
    • #4
    • 5th Oct 16, 4:33 PM
    • #4
    • 5th Oct 16, 4:33 PM
    My sister wanted to add a codicil to her will and they charged her £500 so do check the costs before going ahead. My sister could of made a new will for a fraction of that cost.
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    • Yorkshireman99
    • By Yorkshireman99 5th Oct 16, 6:33 PM
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    • #5
    • 5th Oct 16, 6:33 PM
    • #5
    • 5th Oct 16, 6:33 PM
    Thank you Yorkshireman. Mum has been told the price of a new Will, but not how much a codicil would cost. I'll let my mum know what you have said.
    Originally posted by kingfisherblue
    The cost a of a new will should not cost more than £250 depending on where in the country you live. Phone around a few solicitors and ask. Don't use a will writer.
    • kingfisherblue
    • By kingfisherblue 5th Oct 16, 7:08 PM
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    kingfisherblue
    • #6
    • 5th Oct 16, 7:08 PM
    • #6
    • 5th Oct 16, 7:08 PM
    I think her last Will (the one she wants to remove the bequest from) was under £200. I'll do some ringing around for her - she doesn't like talking to strangers on the phone, so I usually deal with anything like this. We won't use a Will writer - I've learned that from MSE (and had never heard of them previously!).

    Thank you again for your help.
    • ThePants999
    • By ThePants999 7th Oct 16, 5:46 PM
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    ThePants999
    • #7
    • 7th Oct 16, 5:46 PM
    • #7
    • 7th Oct 16, 5:46 PM
    I know there are dangers involved in writing your own will. But surely taking a will that a solicitor wrote and removing a single bequest from it is a pretty safe thing to do, and doesn't involve paying a three figure sum!
    • Yorkshireman99
    • By Yorkshireman99 7th Oct 16, 6:29 PM
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    • #8
    • 7th Oct 16, 6:29 PM
    • #8
    • 7th Oct 16, 6:29 PM
    I know there are dangers involved in writing your own will. But surely taking a will that a solicitor wrote and removing a single bequest from it is a pretty safe thing to do, and doesn't involve paying a three figure sum!
    Originally posted by ThePants999
    The problem is that making a simple mistake such as ommiting a comma or adding a full stop can completely change the will's meaning. How would the OP feel if they took the short cut and the will was then invalid? Don't think it can't happen! It just is not worth it.
    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 7th Oct 16, 9:12 PM
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    Savvy_Sue
    • #9
    • 7th Oct 16, 9:12 PM
    • #9
    • 7th Oct 16, 9:12 PM
    And it's not just the words, it's the process of signing: get that wrong and the whole will can be invalidated too, or certain bequests.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Cutting Tax; Charities; Small Biz & Charity Organisers; and Silver Savers boards, which means I'm a volunteer to help the boards run smoothly, and I can move and merge threads there. However, do remember, Board Guides don't read every post. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com. It is not part of my role to deal with reportable posts.

    Any views are mine and are not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com
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    • Lorian
    • By Lorian 7th Oct 16, 9:18 PM
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    Lorian
    My solicitor recently made a small, similar codicil and the cost was £80 including attending to discuss, posting a draft, attending to sign a week later, providing the two witnesses and two cups of coffee.

    A provincial solicitor.
    • FreeBear
    • By FreeBear 7th Oct 16, 9:46 PM
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    FreeBear
    The problem is that making a simple mistake such as ommiting a comma or adding a full stop can completely change the will's meaning.
    Originally posted by Yorkshireman99
    My solicitor refused to use punctuation when drafting my will as, in her words, a comma in the wrong place could cause confusion.
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    • kingfisherblue
    • By kingfisherblue 8th Oct 16, 8:04 PM
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    kingfisherblue
    I know there are dangers involved in writing your own will. But surely taking a will that a solicitor wrote and removing a single bequest from it is a pretty safe thing to do, and doesn't involve paying a three figure sum!
    Originally posted by ThePants999
    Thank you for trying to save my mum some money - this is MSE after all! However, although the main part of the Will is straightforward, my mum is not including a family member for reasons that I don't want to go into here. She has written a very clear Letter of Reason (I think that's what it is called) to accompany the Will. She does not want my sister and I to have any problems after her death, and took legal advice before writing her current Will, especially about omitting this person.

    If she just rewrote her Will and removed the bequest that she no longer wants to leave, the person to whom the Letter of Reason is addressed may well try to contest the Will and would use the fact that it was not written at a solicitor's office to try to prove that it is unfair. They have the money to do this, and are probably spiteful enough.

    The safest way to put my mum's mind at rest is to use a solicitor. Thank you for the suggestion though.
    • Yorkshireman99
    • By Yorkshireman99 8th Oct 16, 9:37 PM
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    Yorkshireman99
    Thank you for trying to save my mum some money - this is MSE after all! However, although the main part of the Will is straightforward, my mum is not including a family member for reasons that I don't want to go into here. She has written a very clear Letter of Reason (I think that's what it is called) to accompany the Will. She does not want my sister and I to have any problems after her death, and took legal advice before writing her current Will, especially about omitting this person.

    If she just rewrote her Will and removed the bequest that she no longer wants to leave, the person to whom the Letter of Reason is addressed may well try to contest the Will and would use the fact that it was not written at a solicitor's office to try to prove that it is unfair. They have the money to do this, and are probably spiteful enough.

    The safest way to put my mum's mind at rest is to use a solicitor. Thank you for the suggestion though.
    Originally posted by kingfisherblue
    In view of the extra comments about the likelihood that the will could be contested makes it even more important that it is done professionally. Make sure you mum tells the solicitor so they can document what she says.
    Last edited by Yorkshireman99; 08-10-2016 at 9:59 PM.
    • cte1111
    • By cte1111 8th Oct 16, 9:43 PM
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    cte1111
    I would agree with some of the advice on here to make a new will rather than adding a codicil.

    My Granny made a codicil to her will and when she died it did cause a few problems - the witnesses in the end had to go to the Probate Office in person to swear an oath. Fortunately it was my Dad's neighbours who had been witnesses, and they still lived next door and were helpful people who were happy to do this. We were all very glad that Granny hadn't got her old friends to witness, as we would have not known how to contact them, this could have caused the whole will to fail, I understand although am not an expert. So the moral of the tale is - write a new will and get it properly witnessed rather than making a codicil.
    • kingfisherblue
    • By kingfisherblue 11th Oct 16, 11:24 PM
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    kingfisherblue
    Apologies for the late reply. I've spoken to my mum and she agrees that she will feel happier with a new Will.

    In view of the extra comments about the likelihood that the will could be contested makes it even more important that it is done professionally. Make sure you mum tells the solicitor so they can document what she says.
    Originally posted by Yorkshireman99
    Mum is using the same solicitor as last time. We both agree that it must be done professionally to help prevent X contesting the Will. I just want my mum to be happy with her Will and to enjoy life without worrying.

    Thank you once again for your help.
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